• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
on turning wrenches. . .

on turning wrenches. . .

I recently read a fantastic article in Wired magazine titled Turn Your Own Wrenches.  It’s about a guy learning to fix his old Dodge minibus and the basic philosophy that “anything worth fixing can be fixed.”

I love that we have a great mechanic in Kijabe who can weld my engine mount whenever I hit a rock.  But I also love that when the bumper recently fell off the car, a YouTube video, several zip ties, and a can of black spray paint got the CRV back on the road for $3!  

I’m in the process of rehabbing a well-loved bike that I picked up cheap from a friend who was leaving Kijabe last year.  It was the best of the best back in 2017, but six years is a lifetime for a mountain bike in Kijabe.    

After watching many YouTube videos, sending messages to Adam Davis and emails to vendors in America, I’m trying to find the ideal setup.  

It would be easier to buy something new and start from scratch. . .but that would be expensive and there is a sense of nostalgia and curiosity that have me motivated to keep working.  

“The bus (or in my case, the bike) will never not need fixing. But my relationship with it has changed. I no longer look at the engine in awe and mystery.“

Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the trouble, but yesterday, as I rolled down the trail on a perfect stormy afternoon with the entire forest silent before the coming rain, the only sound soft wheels over loamy earth, I was happy I had made the effort.  

Maintenance in Kenya is all about preparation.  Several times each year, Arianna will organize the Pediatric ICU supply closet.  Every product has a home on a labeled, clear plastic container.  When life is on the line, it’s critical to find the right tool at the right time.  

Ordering creation was the original task in Genesis – God makes order out of chaos in creation, then asks humans to making order out of what is given to them – naming animals, starting families, organizing society.  

Is there a redemptive element to repairing a bike, organizing a closet, or making the bed?  

I say yes.  

I think we are called to steward what is given to us, to carve order and beauty out of a world that often moves toward entropy.  I try to remember this truth as I learn to turn the wrench.